QCAT introduces new practices in response to coronavirus
QCAT have just released three new practice directions setting out procedures across the guardianship, urgent minor civil dispute (MCD) and other QCAT jurisdictions to minimise the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), particularly to:
- provide for telephone and, in exceptional circumstances, in person hearings;
- how material is filed, that would otherwise be filed in person at hearing; and,
- types of matters to be adjourned, until further notice.
Please note, these arrangements do not apply to QCAT matters heard by Magistrates in regional areas.
Arrangements for Guardianship matters (please refer to QCAT Practice Direction No. 2 of 2020 for more detailed instructions) include changes for:
- all hearings by phone or videoconferencing except in exceptional authorised circumstances;
- Any person authorised to appear in person must sign a COVID-19 personal statement; and,
- All documents to be relied on at hearing must be filed by email.
Arrangements for urgent Minor Civil Dispute Tenancy matters (please refer to QCAT Practice Direction No. 3 of 2020 for more detailed instructions) include changes for:
- Urgent MCD Tenancy hearings heard by QCAT adjudicators at 259 Queen St Brisbane and at south east Queensland Magistrates Courthouses will be conducted by telephone except in exceptional authorised circumstances;
- Any person authorised to appear in person must sign a COVID-19 personal statement;
- Applications must include:
- all material to be relied on at the hearing (any necessary supplementary material, e.g. up-to-date rent ledger, must be emailed to the relevant Registry by 4pm on the afternoon before the hearing); and,
- the respondent’s last known address and telephone number; and,
- If the respondent intends on participating in the hearing, the respondent must email the relevant Registry advising of their best contact number and attach all material they wish to rely on.
Arrangements for all other QCAT matters (please refer to QCAT Practice Direction No. 4 of 2020 for more detailed instructions) include changes for:
- All non-urgent Minor Civil Disputes listed for hearing are adjourned to a date to be fixed. This includes:
- Non-urgent residential tenancy disputes.
- Minor debt disputes.
- Consumer disputes.
- Dividing fence disputes.
- In the week commencing 30 March, 2020, all other hearings, including appeals, listed for hearing at 259 Queen Street, Brisbane will be by telephone or adjourned until further notice;
- Any other hearing (including an appeal) listed for hearing at 259 Queen Street, Brisbane from 6 April, 2020 will be adjourned to a date to be fixed;
- All other hearings by QCAT members or adjudicators at south east Queensland Magistrates Courthouses from 30 March, 2020 are to be adjourned to a date to be fixed;
- Any adjourned matters will be reviewed and assessed to see if an urgent telephone hearing is required, a non-urgent telephone hearing is needed, can be decided on available material (“on the papers”), or placed on a list awaiting a new hearing date;
- All Directions Hearings and Compulsory Conferences will be by telephone;
- Any mediations conducted by the Dispute Resolution Branch will be by telephone. All other mediations will be adjourned to a date to be fixed;
- To file an urgent application OTHER than a Guardianship or Urgent Minor Civil Dispute Tenancy application, first email the Registry firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements for the filing of the application; and,
- To file a non-urgent application, file in the usual manner as described on QCAT’s website here.
Please note: These changes do not apply to matters heard before Magistrates in Queensland courts. Please refer to the Queensland Courts website for information about particular locations as they may change between courts.